ASG – Survive Sunrise (NSFW)
Producer: Matt Hyde
Genre: Stoner Metal
Spoiler alter, I’m not gonna like Goblin Orange as much as ASG this week. Both are Sabbath-fueled spinners of stoner doom—but Survive Sunrise manages to wrap in the progressive side of the music just that much better than The Wolf Bites Back. The former knows just when to launch in scream-metal, drone into psychedelia or noodle like a jazz-rocker. Scott Key’s percussion spreads even, Blake Riot and Jonah Citty hits all that is vital on their guitar necks, meanwhile, Andy Ellis rallies the mosh pit and Jason Shi switches from modern scream to Ozzian sooth-shrieking with ease. This just what I’ve always wanted in my modern metal—it’s a shame this week was only one for two, but man, odds were low for that one.
Blushh – Thx For Asking EP
Producer: Shab Ferdowski
Label: Yellow K
Genre: Garage Rock, Neo-Grunge
It’s a 12-minute EP and it sucks. Not because this neo-grunge à la Speedy Ortiz, Bully, Pixies and so on fails to show some teeth—far from it. It just shows too few and then runs on repeat. It’s 12-minutes that can run into an hour if a listener isn’t vigilant. Although, I can’t imagine wanting to change the record anytime soon. So yeah, it sucks because the EP is a short glimpse into a much deeper artist. But damn, if that is the only thing that sucks about this EP, then it’s a good EP.
Calpurnia (feat. Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things) – Scout EP
Producer: Cadien Lake James (Twin Peaks)
Label: Royal Mountain
Genre: Indie Rock, Garage
Sixties folk meets Surf meets Garage. They’re wannabe-Velvet Underground bunch of Mystery Gang nerds pedaling some weird combination of twee jangle and garage. And damn do they sell it well. Calpurnia takes a similar angle to Slow Club before Slow Club fell in love with R&B a little too hard or before Los Campesinos became… shit. A Noah and the Whale before Laura Marling left. A Courtney Barnett just after EP no. II. A band just freshly hatched but no less as fragile an organism looking for a nest. And it sounds like they want to nestle just next to that post-punk, garage world of street art and open studio apartments.
Girls Names – Stains on Silence
Producer: Ben McAuley
Label: Tough Love
Dublin post-punk outfit Girls Names came astoundingly close to shuttering the blinds of this record and advertised it as a great record on the level of American Idiot or Tusk or A Night at the Opera or Disentegration. A bold claim, but this gothic post-punk record shouldn’t need to compare itself to those records become monoliths. The edifice of Stains on Silence is cold and haunting but with touching riffwork and swelling musicality. So is it a record to change time? No, no, no, no, no, no. But is it a record worth your time? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Just submit this record to your inner goth and step back.
The Lay Llamas – Thuban
Producer: Nicola Giunta
Genre: Neo-Psychedelic Rock
An ever shifting collective, a low-volume electrosoul and tie-dye tide pulled by the moon sized cranium of Nicola Giunta. Oh, it’s not moon-sized? Well then, it’s economical—this is a fuzzy world conductor with an Indian, folk, garage-rock blender for a brain. It lays those sitar-like guitar solos and strings movements across the ambient wind synthesized by a weather matrix moog and breezing from out the keyboards. It is the reunion of new shoegaze texture work and sixties tonal sex. Give him the right inspiration and watch this guy string together 30-minute odysseys in rhythm. Damn, actually, really, if someone wants to start that Fela Kuti/George Harrison/Jethro Tull influenced album right now, that’d just hit the spot.
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage
Producer: Fredrik Swahn, Melody Prochet, Reine Fiske, Maxime Leguil
Label: Fat Possum, Domino
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Progressive, lo-fi
Like it or not, Melody’s Echo Chamber is intricately intertwined with the legend of Kevin Parker. Dude’s a stud—but eve better? Melody Prochet a bien été arrivée—proving her chops by nosediving straight away from her Foxygen acid house neo-psych straight into a lo-fi pool of neo-soul Bjorkish charm. She may have followed-up with the jam on the lob from Kadhja Bonet’s Childqueen, both selling summertime nostalgia by the bowl like some sort of Cleveland- style slow soul soup mixed with the garnish of jazz-rock. It also contains one of the best record turns of the year, a slow jam that transforms to a charging Cinderella-song for sanctuary, a Carole King plea in ancient French lace—just when the angel tears make the snow dance. Oh, and if you think I couldn’t heap more praise, try this one on for size: at most it took Kanye two attempts to make a rap Album of the Year, or at least it sounds like two halves of the same rap Album of the Year. Melody Echo Chamber only needed seven tracks and 33 minutes to make just a plain ol’ Album of the Year. Repeating number album lengths always make me giddy and so too does this list of co-producers: Fredrik Swahn (a folkin’ Swede), Reine Fiske (a progressive Swede), Melody Prochet (the aforementioned) and Maxime Le Guil (the French indie maestro. Savant, vif et stylé, where was this Melody Echo Chamber on the debut? Did Kevin Parker really suck all that talent out of the room? Ah, well, maybe she can just delete the memory of her first record and call this her real debut—what? Billy Joel did it, so why can’t Melody Prochet?
Protomartyr – Consolation EP
Producer: Mike Montgomery
Genre: Post-Punk, Art Punk
A jangling, moaning 7-minute post-punk drone followed by less drone and more Kelly Deal—not an album of two halves, hell no, it’s a cheeky little EP—that pushes a New York art-punk urgency to logical droning conclusions. Just by being honest and straight-forward it demonstrates capability and execution. Not long, not much to say about itself but not bad.
Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back
Producer: Jaime Gomez Arellano
Genre: Stoner Metal
I really want to like Metal. I really do. And I try to pick my spots, this week I tried it with ASG and Orange Goblin—“Stoner metal!” I read, exclamation point rocketing across my eyes, “How could this possibly go wrong? Master of Reality is my Black Sabbath album. Give me that “Sweet Leaf,” gimme them “Children of the Grave,” crown it “Lord of this World” and then shoot it “Into the Void” like an SOS package, an interstellar bottle, hurtling through space and time at sub-light speeds in a universe of thousands and millions of lightyears and no bloody expressways—all without a return address. And I thought Dallas was some urban sprawl. Orange Goblin’s latest does not capture my interest as such—no, the problem with Orange Goblin is that they strike like the hardest of rock, but barely scratch the surface of any metal. My fandom troubles with the modern-day extremes of Judas Priest-loving, leather-chafing, chains clanking metal. Are they trying to spook me? Oh my me, they don’t stand a chance—drone metal does more for hype than Orange Goblin, who sound less harrowing than Coldplay is moving. At least Viva la Vida had a swing to it. But now, I’m done with being the asshole and just enjoy the riffs as they come—best served with a side of Sabbath rhythm and Motorhead theatrics.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
Producer: Liam Judson
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Jangle, Indie Rock
Jangle!? God I fucking hate that genre term—it’s just a punkier form of twee! And while the Australian rockers of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (that’s a mouthful) definitely want everyone to think they may just be punks, they’re not. This is Neo-Beach Rock at its finest. A fine mix between surf rock, punk and with moments of dreampop interspersed in between. The impact of each value can be adjusted, and RBCF definitely swerves further away from dreampop than any other neo-beach band I’ve yet heard—but if this music isn’t used to rock a beachside garage or enjoy the tides on the golden sands, then it’s being criminally underused.
Délétère – De Horae Leprae (NSFW)
Genre: Black Metal
Rhythm & Blues/Soul/Funk:
The Exaltics – Das Heise Experiment 2
Genre: Acid Techno
The Cure – Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018 (Reissue)
Genre: Alternative Rock
Gene Clark (of The Byrds) – The Rose Garden: A Trip Through the Garden: The Rose Garden Collection (Compilation)
Genre: Classic Rock
The Killers – The Killers Career Vinyl Box (Compilation)
Genre: Alternative Rock
The Rolling Stones – The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016
Genre: Classic Rock
Various Artists – Mean Girls: Original Broadway Cast Recording (Physical Only)
Genre: Musical, Soundtrack
Various Artists – Uncle Drew: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Genre: Soundtrack, Rap